Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hi-Town DJ's

Hi-Town DJ's were a hip-hop/rap group from Florida that consisted of rappers Derrick Rahming, Matt Young, & Teeze, record spinner DJ JP, singer Kalo and stage dancer Chyna Doll.

They rejected the gangsta approach to hip-hop and embraced the party-hearty vibe instead.

All of the members were from either Florida or Hawaii and were originally formed by Matt "xsdb" Young of the Icon Entertainment production company, who was looking to put together a band to introduce bass music to the rest of the world.

After they completed a demo, Hi-Town DJ's were signed to Restless Soul Records.
In 1998, the group released their debut album, "We Came 2 Groove" which didn't appear to make the Billboard album charts.
Their first single, "Ding-A-Ling" peaked at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100, #29 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, #10 on Billlboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, and #59 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.
A promo single, "It's On" was released, but didn't make the charts.

After that, it seems as if the Hi-Town DJ's faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from them since the '90s.

To see a fan-made video for "Ding-A-Ling," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJIO7Dk2_os

A.C. Kelly

A.C. Kelly (born in the Bronx, New York) was a male R&B singer from the late 80s. Not much information is given about him, but he was signed to Columbia Records.
In 1989, A.C. released his only album, "Slammer" which didn't appear to make the Billboard album charts at all.
The first single, "She's a Slammer" peaked at #87 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for only 5 weeks.
The follow-up single, "Inside Your Love" failed to make the charts at all and just like that, he faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from A.C. since.

To see a fan-made video for "She's a Slammer," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayGiqukLiMw

To see a fan-made video for "Inside Your Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuwuJYCsuYY

Greg Stone

Greg Stone was a dance singer from the late 80s. Not much information is given about him, but he was signed to Dice Records.

In 1987, Greg released the single "That's Where the Happy People Go/Here in the Darkness" which managed to peak at #34 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. "That's Where the Happy People Go" was originally sung by the Trammps.

After that, it seems as if Greg has faded into obscurity, but according to a comment I received, he passed away from unknown causes in the late '90s.

To see a fan-made video for "Here in the Darkness," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-KwnEYl6RA

[Updated on 01\05\2016]

Maria Vidal

Maria Vidal (born Maria Elena Fernandez-Vidal on August 1, 1960) is a female pop/rock singer from the 80s.

She was a former member of producer/songwriter Desmond Child's girl group, Rouge. The group released two albums in the late-70s and scored a disco hit with the song, "Our Love is Insane."

After the group broke up, Maria provided backing vocals for artists such as Paul Stanley, Ellen Foley, and Jenny Burton. In 1984, she was asked to record the theme song for the movie, "Body Rock" starring Lorenzo Lamas.
Even though the movie flopped, the title song became a hit, peaking at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #8 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In the U.K., the song managed to peak at #11 on the U.K. Singles chart.

Maria was working on an album with music producer, Jellybean, but it ended up being shelved. After that, she went back to doing session work and songwriting for various artists such as Stevie Nicks and John Waite.

In 1985, she appeared in the Jim Carrey movie "Once Bitten" as a member of a high school band and provided two songs to the movie's soundtrack.
In 1987, A&M Records decided to sign Maria for an album deal and during that same year, she released her self-titled debut album.
The first single, "Do Me Right" was produced by Desmond Child, but didn't make the Billboard charts at all.
A second promo single, "House of Love" flopped and Maria was dropped from her record label. Despite that, she managed to maintain close ties with Desmond and producers Robbie Seidman & Rick Nowels (whom she later married).

Maria went back to session singing and songwriting for artists such as Julie Brown, Belinda Carlisle, Gregg Alexander, Ace of Base, Cher, Alice Cooper, Bette Midler, Celine Dion, and the Real McCoy.
In 2009, she released her second album, "Living in Radical Radiance" which is available through her website. 

These days, Maria still appears to be active in the music business, most recently providing vocals on Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die" album and Ronan Keating's "Fires" album in 2012.

To see Maria's website, go to:
http://mariavidal.net/

To see the music video for "Body Rock," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX3bG4hcU-g

To see a fan-made video for "Do Me Right," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJQhXfVyqk

To see a fan-made video for "House of Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Br_h8ga7s

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bobbi Walker

Bobbi Walker was a female R&B singer from the 80s. Not much information is given about her, but she released two albums before fading into obscurity.
In 1980, Bobbi released her debut album, "Diamond in the Rough" on Casablanca Records. It's unknown how or if the album made the charts.
The only single to chart was "Something About You" which peaked at #62 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for 7 weeks.
In 1982, Bobbi released her self-titled sophomore album on Alfa Records, which didn't make the charts at all.

After that, it seems as if she has faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from her since.

To see a fan-made video for "Something About You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ-FjMFE394

Angela Cole

Angela Cole is an R&B singer from the '80s. Not much information is given about her, but she was signed to Motown Records & was only 14 years old at the time.
In 1987, Angela released her only album "Turn Up the Beat" which didn't appear to make the Billboard charts at all nor did the single "L-O-V-E (Love)."

After that, it seems as if she has faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from her since the '80s.

To see a fan-made video for "Turn Up the Beat," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5BieJcXQ2o

[Updated on 01\05\2016]

Phyllis St. James

Phyllis St. James (from Los Angeles, California) was an R&B singer\songwriter from the 80s. She is related to drummer Tony St. James.

She has written music and provided vocals for various artists. Phyllis even released a single in 1975 entitled "Get Happy."
In 1984, Phyllis released her only album, "Ain't No Turnin' Back" on Motown Records. It's unknown how or if the album ever made the charts.
The only single released from the album was "Candlelight Afternoon" which didn't appear to make the charts.

After that, it seems as if Phyllis has faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from her since.

To see a fan-made video for "Candlelight Afternoon," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KES_lZoStkM

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Superior Movement

Superior Movement was an R&B group from Chicago, Illinois that consisted of Calvin Ford, Stanley Ratliff, David Williams, Billy Avery and Tyrone Powell.
In 1982, the group released their only album "The Key to Your Heart" on the Chycago International Music record label.
The first single "For You" peaked at #77 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for 5 weeks.
The follow-up single "Wide Shot" peaked at #47 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for 10 weeks.

After that, it seems as if Superior Movement has faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from them since.

To see a fan-made video for "For You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhnzonJ1gk

To see a fan-made video for "Wide Shot," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmKgA7D_vS0

Blast Zone

Blast Zone was a rap trio from Los Angeles, California that consisted of Byron Byrd, Tiffani Byrd, and Paul Lachman.

In 1988, they released their debut single, "Blast the Walls Out" on Blip Blop Records under the name "Blaztzone." It's unknown how or if the single made the charts.
Their second single, "Mary Had a Little Jam" peaked at #43 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 10 weeks.

After that, it seems as if Blast Zone has faded into obscurity. Nothing much has been heard from them since.

To see a fan-made video for "Mary Had a Little Jam," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akv8qVA8SaA

Fu-Schnickens

Fu-Schnickens were a hip-hop music trio from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York known for their cartoonish lyrics, pop culture references and the first hip-hop artists to rap in backwards fashion.

The members consisted of Roderick "Chip Fu" Roachford, Joe "Moc Fu" Jones and Lennox "Poc Fu" Maturine.

In the group's name, "Fu" stood for "For Unity" and "Schnicken" was a made-up word that meant "coalition." After performing at a rap event at Howard University, the trio was signed to Jive Records.
In November of 1991, they released their debut single, "Ring the Alarm" which peaked at #6 on Billboard's Rap Singles chart by the next year.
In February of 1992, Fu-Schnickens released their debut album "F.U. Don't Take it Personal" which peaked at #64 on the Billboard 200, #13 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and topped Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart.

The recording sessions for the album took place at Battery Studios in New York, New York. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA by late 1992, shipping 500,000 copies in the U.S.
The second single from the album "La Schmoove" featuring A Tribe Called Quest member, Phife Dawg, peaked at #3 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, #36 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #30 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.
The last single from the album "True Fuschnick" peaked at #18 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, #14 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, #45 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #97 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for a week.

In 1993, the trio started working on their follow-up album. They recorded a fast-paced song entitled "What's Up Doc?" which featured cartoon Bugs Bunny saying his famous catchphrase, but they couldn't get a sample clearance from Warner Bros. and ended up shelving the song.

Then-rookie NBA star, Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal talked about his love of hip-hop music and stated that Fu-Schnickens were his favorite rap group which prompted them to contact Shaq for a collaboration.

Shaq recorded a verse that was added on the already-recorded "What's Up Doc?" with the trio and Shaq saying, "What's up, doc?" to replace the Bugs Bunny sample.

Even though the album wasn't completed, the song was released quickly as a single to capitalize on Shaq's popularity.
The lead single from their soon-to-be second album entitled "What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock?)" became a hit, peaking at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100, #22 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, #26 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, #16 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #56 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks.

The song was also featured on Shaq's debut album "Shaq Diesel."
In 1994, Fu-Schnickens released their second album "Nervous Breakdown" which peaked at #81 on the Billboard 200 and #19 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

During that time, the rap music scene had changed dramatically and there wasn't much of an audience for their style of music.
The follow-up single "Breakdown" peaked at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, #10 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, and #38 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.

During that same year, Fu-Schnickens appeared on the finale of "The Arsenio Hall Show" with other artists such as KRS-One, the Wu-Tang Clan, Naughty by Nature, MC Lyte, Guru, Mad Lion, Yo-Yo, Das EFX, CL Smooth and A Tribe Called Quest.
In 1996, Fu-Schnickens' greatest hits compliation album was released. By that time, it seemed as if Fu-Schnickens faded into obscurity.

Today, Chip Fu is a solo artist and now goes under the name "Jungle Rock Jr." He continues to be active in the music business. It is unknown what Poc Fu and Moc Fu are up to today.

To see Chip Fu's official website, go to:
http://www.chip-fu.com/

To see the music video for "Ring the Alarm," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M60tICT4NAY

To see the music video for "La Schmoove," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XF_aZvcb-c

To see the music video for "True Fuschnick," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeTFKOsQ0Tw

To see the music video for "What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock?)," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDDGx9sJhZo

To see the music video for "Breakdown," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWwveAGRYcc

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Los Umbrellos

Los Umbrellos was a Latin pop/dance music group from Copenhagen, Denmark that was formed by record producer, Kenneth Bager led by African rapper Al Agami and singers/former models Mai-Britt Grøndahl Vingsøe and Grith Höifeldt, who won an audition held by Flex/EMI in Copenhagen. 

Al Agami released his solo album, "Covert Operations" in Denmark in 1993.
In 1997, the group released their only album "Flamenco Funk" which peaked at #10 on Austria's albums chart and #30 on Switzerland's albums chart.
The first single "No Tengo Dinero" became a hit, topping the charts in Austria, peaking at #2 on Denmark's Tracklisten chart, and  making the top 5 in New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy. The song was certified Platinum in Austria.

In the U.K., the song peaked at #33 on the U.K. Singles chart. In the United States, the song peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, #40 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #27 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart.
The follow-up single, a cover version of the Cars' hit song "Drive" flopped, failing to make the charts at all.
Two more singles: "Easy Come, Easy Go" and "Gigolo" were released, but also didn't chart. 

In 1998, Mai-Britt was replaced by Stine Kinck and by 1999, Los Umbrellos had disbanded. Al Agami still continues to be active in the music business. 

Mai-Britt Vingsøe (now Mai-Britt Vingsøe Watt) is active in television, hosting the Denmark reality show, "4-stjerners middag" in 2011. It is unknown what Grith Höifeldt is up to today.

To see the music video for "No Tengo Dinero," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "Drive," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "Easy Come, Easy Go," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "Gigolo," go to:

Valerie George

Valerie George (born in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a female R&B singer from the 90s. She started singing when she was 8 years old.

She attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (or NOCCA) for music while attending Walter L. Cohen Sr. High School. She led her senior high school band to win first place.

Valerie later attended Southern University where she majored in Music Education and minored in Instrumental Music. She played and sang with the Southern University Marching Band and Jazz Ensemble.

In 1983, she sang on national television when her singing group perform at a Saints & Jets football game on Monday Night Football. In 1987, Valerie sang for millions of people on Bourbon Street.

Six years later, Valerie moved to New York City to start a music career. Music producer Kyle West brought Valerie to  the studio where she sang a song that she wrote for Toni Braxton, but the song never got to her because Uptown Records president, Andre Harrell liked the song so much, he signed Valerie in 1996 and took her to Motown Records.
During that same year, Valerie released her debut single "Being Single (Ain't Easy)" on Motown Records, which peaked at #87 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 4 weeks.

Her song "Emotionally in Love" was also featured in the movie, "The Nutty Professor."

These days (according to Valerie's MySpace page), she is the mother of two and continues to perform in New Orleans with her band, L.A. Band.

To see Valerie's MySpace page, go to:
http://www.myspace.com/valgeorgegg007

To see the music video for "Being Single (Ain't Easy)," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJM8Vrp4xzo

To see a fan-made video for "Emotionally in Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smz30gs4X48